DIY Almond Milk

Xanthan gum.  Natural flavor.  Locust bean gum.  These are just a sampling of synthetic ingredients that could be lurking in your store-bought almond milk.  Geez, it begs the question… are there any actual almonds in there?

This brings us to the moral of the story for this week’s post… the DIY approach to nourishment is–and as far as I can tell, always will be–the most foolproof way to ensure that you are fueling your body with whole foods rather than processed ones.  Last time I checked, there was not any xanthan gum sitting in my pantry at home.  Nor was there natural flavor.  And I would not even know where to begin in terms of getting my hands on some locust bean gum.

Below you will find my family’s recipe for DIY almond milk.  It takes us 10 minutes to prep a batch of it.  It is super fast to make.  It is ridiculously easy to prepare.  It is absolutely awesome to drink.  And, it only contains two ingredients: almonds and water.

In order to prepare DIY almond milk, first soak one cup of almonds in water for approximately 24 hours.  After a day has passed, empty the water into the sink and rinse the almonds.  Then, combine the almonds with two cups of water and blend the mixture until it becomes creamy and a smooth consistency is achieved.  This process should be completed in approximately two and a half minutes.  Next, remove the mixture from the blender and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth.  As you strain the mixture through the cheesecloth, you will eventually have to gather the cheesecloth and squeeze to get every last drop of that almond milk!  Two cups of almond milk and the ground almonds will remain.  Transfer the almond milk into a glass container, and enjoy for up to three days!

Whatever you do, make sure to not discard the ground almonds!  In fact, these ground almonds can be incorporated in a variety of culinary creations and they also pack a nutritional punch!  For instance, my family and I adore using the ground almonds for the binder in turkey meatballs, a replacement for some–or even all– of the flour in baked goods, and even as a replacement for cow’s milk in fruit smoothies.  Yes, the possibilities are truly endless… I have even heard of people using the ground almond meal as a face scrub.  The ground almond meal will keep for about seven days if refrigerated.  Freezing the ground almond meal is also an option.

Do you enjoy flavored almond milk?  If so, here is an addition to the above DIY almond milk recipe…in order to prepare vanilla almond milk, you can incorporate vanilla paste to taste or blend two vanilla beans in the mixture of almonds and water.

This recipe is a fantastic substitute for cow’s milk.  It is heart healthy.  It consists of only two whole foods.  Have you ever prepared your own almond milk?  If so, what recipe do you use?  If not, are you excited to try this one?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

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Changing the Vocabulary

Did anyone read Michael Ruhlman’s article entitled “No food is healthy. Not even kale” from The Washington Post?  After reading it, I thought that it was interesting food for thought.  His thesis was that food is either nutritious or devoid of nutrients.  In this same way, people are either healthy, unhealthy, or somewhere in between.  Food is not healthy.  People are not nutritious.  However, consumers and manufacturers alike have grown accustomed to this jargon.

Ruhlman’s article got me thinking about the tremendous power of words.  For instance, we talk about processed food as a bad thing, without realizing that many foods that are good for us are– indeed– processed.  High quality cheese, rich in calcium and other nutrients, is actually processed.  So, this is another reminder to take care with our language about food.

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

Part Two: A Crisis of National Security

I hope that you found last week’s Ted Talk by Lieutenant General Mark Hertling to be thought-provoking.  I appreciated the Lieutenant’s analysis of America’s obesity epidemic, and his insights prompted me to think of the following:

How did this happen?

I am of the school of thought that each citizen’s healthful intentions have been manipulated, at least to a degree, by the processed food industry.  Deceptive advertising is the root of this manipulation.  The majority of consumers always scan the front side of the packaging for a food product or a beverage.  However, more often than not, reading the front side of a product’s packaging can lead to an incomplete, even falsified idea of the ingredients the product actually contains.  For instance, think about an individually packaged cup of yogurt.  The front of the label probably boasts all sorts of health claims for this yogurt.  Yet is yogurt really the only ingredient that this product contains?  Or does it also contain added sugars, food colorings, artificial flavors, food additives, and a myriad of other chemicals?  Trust me, if the product does contain these processed ingredients, the company is probably not going to be advertising it on the front of its food or beverage label.  This is just one example that illustrates the importance of reading the ingredient label for each food and beverage product purchased.  It takes only a few seconds to scan the label, while it ensures the purchase of the most nutritious product.  Reading an ingredient label is one of the most empowered acts that a consumer can engage in at the supermarket!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie